Electrical outlets

Old 10-15-03, 11:01 AM
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Electrical outlets

We purchased a home that was built in 1986. Several of the electrical outlets are controlled by wall mounted switches. Is there something I can do to get rid of the switches so the outlets always carry a current? It's driving us nuts! The outdoor lights are motion sensor...so we have to continually flick on and off to switch the lights to regular "stay on" lighting...switches that only controll sockets....and I'm not even going to address what we went through with the cable/satelitte hook up! I'm trying to standard everything and take out all the guess work. It's a wonderful home but we want to "raise the bar" and ensure we are upgraded, safe, and within code (of course). Recommendations? Thanks!
Old 10-15-03, 11:29 AM
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The code has required a swtiched outlet in every room for a long time. The outlet is usually either a ceiling light or a switched receptacle. If you want to eliminate the switched receptacle the quickest (and easiest to revers) is to unhook the 2 wires from the switch and wire nut them together (assumes no 3 ways). You could even leave the switch if you want.
Old 10-15-03, 11:49 AM
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Yes, you can remove the switches that control the outlets. Before I tell you how, let me tell you one reasin they may be there.

It is code to have either a light (such as an overhead light) or an outlet controlled by a switch in every bedroom. The switch must be located near the door. This is also a good thing to have, so you don't have to stumble through the room in the dark to find a light.

It is cheaper for a home builder to install a switched outlet verses an overhead light, so many go this route, plus not everyone has the same taste in overhead lights.

Some home builders will also place similar switches in other places, such as a living room, family room, etc., usually for the same reasons.

You may find that the outlets in the room are wired in one of several ways. You may even find different wiring in different rooms in your house.

One way to wire the outlets is to run power to the switch (using 14/2 or 12/2), and then run 14/3 or 12/3 to the first outlet., then to the second outlet, etc. The red wire will be switched, the black wire will be hot and the white wire is the return. In this manner you can easily change which outlet is controlled by the switch, have more than one outlet controlled by the the switch, or even have half an outlet switched and the other half unswitched.

The other way to wire the outlets is to simply designate one outlet as switched, and the other outles as unswitched. This simplifies the wiring, but allows less flexibility.

How you remove the switch depends on what you want to do.

One way to remove the switch is to simply remove the wires from the switch and wire nut them together. You can then leave the switch installed and have it do nothing, or remove it and replace the cover with a blank cover plate.

If your outlets are wired as I first described, then you can connect the unswitched wire to the switched outlet in place of the switched wire. This will make it an unswitched outlet. In this case you can do what you want with the switch, leave it wired in place or remove it.

Before you remove any switch or outlet plates, or the switches or outlets themselves, turn off the power to the circuit.

Another word of caution. Do not make any permanent changes, and make good notes on how everything is wired before you make changes. When you sell the house, a home inspector for the buyer may note that no outlets are switched in the bedrooms (for example) and the buyer may want this corrected.

Finally, use wire nuts to cap any wires you leave unconnected in an outlet or switch box and if you remove a switch, replace the cover with a blank cover. Do not leave a switch cover in place, as someone (for example, a child) may stick something into the opening.
Old 10-15-03, 12:08 PM
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Electrical Outlets

Thanks for the information...it clarified alot and raised some issues I hadn't really thought of. Thanks!! I'll leave everything as is...

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